Marshal's Latest Adventure
I knew he had a driver's license but he never mentioned this latest endeavor...
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- With the roar of the engine resonating off the state Capitol, Gov. Joe Manchin unveiled the No. 75 Marshall University stock car Thursday.
"Is it my turn now?" Manchin said after Brett Rowe, who will drive the Dodge Charger for Herd Racing LLC, exited the cockpit.
Backers are hoping to drum up enough sponsors to enter the car on the NASCAR Nationwide circuit later this season.
Marshall alumni Dana Tomes and his wife, Tonya, approached the university with the idea last October as a way to get additional exposure for Marshall and it was met with immediate enthusiasm.
The school is not a financial backer. The car's number is in memory of the 75 Marshall coaches, players and supporters killed in a November 1970 plane crash. The aftermath of the crash was chronicled in the 2006 Matthew McConaughey film "We Are Marshall."
"We just thought with the popularity of the Marshall movie that this would be a good way to keep Marshall's name in the news," Dana Tomes said.
As many as eight volunteers converged on a nightly basis to work on the car at a small shop behind the Huntington Mall in Barboursville. The car was finished just before midnight Wednesday at a cost of nearly $100,000.
Cars bearing other college names and their paint schemes have competed in various NASCAR events in recent years, including Auburn, Florida, Florida State, James Madison, Maryland, Georgetown and the Yale Cancer Center, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said.
"I think what you see with a lot of colleges and universities is the same thing you see with a lot of companies in America -- that NASCAR has a very big, broad fan base," Poston said. "Having your name and logo on a car is a very effective way of marketing the school, the company or the brand."
From a public relations perspective, "Marshall's risk is minimal," said Jim Biegalski, vice president of consulting for Dallas-based The Marketing Arm. "They have nothing but positive to gain out of the association."
Some of those previous attempts on behalf of other universities were short lived. Keeping a car in race condition is expensive.
Tomes said Herd Racing needs a minimum of $50,000 to $75,000 per race depending on the location. That doesn't include paying the crew. And if the car wrecks, the costs go much higher.
Racing the car for a full season would take a minimum of $3 million to $6 million, he said.
Tomes hopes to find enough sponsors to compete in the Sharpie Mini 300 on March 15 in Bristol, Tenn. If not, the next goal is a race near Charlotte, N.C., in late May.
Guest poster - original forum July 2001. Member 2002. nbsc